Terence

Archive for September, 2012|Monthly archive page

Rumi: Poet and Sufi mystic inspired by same-sex love

In saints on September 30, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Rumi and Shams together in a detail from “Dervish Whirl” by Shahriar Shahriari (RumiOnFire.com)

Rumi is a 13th-century Persian poet and Sufi mystic whose love for another man inspired some of the world’s best poems and led to the creation of a new religious order, the whirling dervishes. His birthday is today (Sept. 30).

With sensuous beauty and deep spiritual insight, Rumi writes about the sacred presence in ordinary experiences. His poetry is widely admired around the world and he is one of the most popular poets in America. One of his often-quoted poems begins:

If anyone asks you

how the perfect satisfaction

of all our sexual wanting

will look, lift your face

and say,

Like this.*

The homoeroticism of Rumi is hidden in plain sight. It is well known that his poems were inspired by his love for another man, but the queer implications are seldom discussed. There is no proof that Rumi and his beloved Shams of Tabriz had a sexual relationship, but the intensity of their same-sex love is undeniable.

Rumi was born Sept. 30, 1207 in Afghanistan, which was then part of the Persian Empire. His father, a Muslim scholar and mystic, moved the family to Roman Anatolia (present-day Turkey) to escape Mongol invaders when Rumi was a child. Rumi lived most of his life in this region and used it as the basis of his chosen name, which means “Roman.” His full name is Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi-Rumi.

-continue reading at Jesus in Love Blog

 

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God’s Rainbow Realm (Matthew 13:44-46)

In Sexual Orientation on September 27, 2012 at 11:24 am

The kindom of heaven is like a buried treasure found in a field. The ones who discovered it hid it again, and rejoicing at the discovery, went and sold all their possessions and bought that field.

Or again the kindom of heaven is like a merchant’s search for fine pearls. When one pearl of great value was found, the merchant went back and sold everything else and bought it.

Mathew 13: 44-46

Untitled Self Portrait with C.B.M. by Kim Leutwyler @ http://www.celesteprize.com/artwork/ido:56554/

Let’s play “word substitute.” Instead of “kindom of heaven,” let’s read “sexual orientation” and “sexual identity.” The parables then would read sexual orientation is like an unknown treasure that once discovered brings great rejoicing. And sexual identity once discerned is as rich and glorious as a pearl of the greatest value.

If you are playing this game with straight friends they will not get how freeing and affirming these parables are. For them, sexual orientation and sexual identity have never been hidden or sought after. It’s hardly a treasure but more of a given constant. For queers, however, the discernment of deep identity markers which set us apart from the (hetero) norm can be either an experience of anxiety or liberation – often a mixture of both. Even more reasons for us to identify with the thrill of these parables. Leutwyler’s self portrait captures the sense of  “neediness” which lends urgency to the searching and boundless joy in the finding

-continue reading at  The Bible In Drag – Queering Scripture.

Leonardo Boff: How the absolute monarchical power of the popes took shape

In Uncategorized on September 22, 2012 at 2:53 pm

We wrote earlier in these pages that the crisis of the hierarchical institutional Church lies in the absolute concentration of power in the person of the pope, power that is exerted in an absolutist way, distant from any participation of Christians and creating almost insurmountable obstacles to ecumenical dialogue with other denominations.

It wasn’t like that in the beginning. The Church was a fraternal community. The figure of the pope didn’t exist yet. The Church was ruled by the emperor since he was the Supreme Pontiff (Pontifex Maximus), not the bishop of Rome or Constantinople, the two capitals of the Empire. So Emperor Constantine convened the first ecumenical council of Nicea (325) to decide the question of Christ’s divinity. Still in the 6th century, Emperor Justinian, who reunited the two parts of the Empire, the West and the East, claimed for himself the primacy of law and not that of bishop of Rome. However, by virtue of the tombs of Peter and Paul being in Rome, the Roman Church enjoyed special prestige, as did its bishop who, before the others, had the “presidency in love” and “carried out the service of Peter” — that of “strengthening the faith”, not the supremacy of Peter in commanding.

-full commentary at Iglesia Descalza (translated by Rebel Girl)

Archbishop Nichols reminds Marriage Care to follow Church teaching

In Marriage and family on September 21, 2012 at 10:52 am

The Archbishop of Westminster has warned Marriage Care that it must conform to Catholic teaching after it emerged that the charity is offering marriage preparation services to same-sex couples.

The charity, which receives money from the Catholic Church, states: “Our counselling service is open to and welcomes everybody over the age of 16, married or not, straight or not.” It also offers marriage preparation and “welcome all couples considering a committed relationship such as marriage”.

A spokesman for Archbishop Vincent Nichols, president of Marriage Care, said his role was exercised “solely on the basis that the charitable objects… are to provide relationship counselling, marriage preparation and relationship education services to ‘promote and support marriage and family life in accordance with the Church’s vision of marriage as a vocation of life and love’.”

He added: “It is the legal and fiduciary responsibility of the directors of the company to ensure that the charitable objects of Catholic Marriage Care Limited are observed and fulfilled. The provision of services in accordance with the teaching of the Catholic Church is also a requirement for Catholic Marriage Care Limited to maintain its continued use of the title Catholic within its designation and to retain the patronage of one of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales.”

– CatholicHerald.co.uk.

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The Queer Rights Movement as an Extension of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 13:31-33 // Mark 4:30-32, Luke 13:18-21)

In Uncategorized on September 20, 2012 at 11:34 am

Jesus presented another parable to the crowds: “The kindom of heaven is like the mustard seed which a farmer sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it grows it is the biggest shrub of all – it becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come to perch in its branches.”

Jesus offered them still another parable: “The kindom of heaven is like the yeast a baker took and mixed in with three measures of flour until it was leavened all through.”

Mathew 13: 31-33 (Mark 4:30-32, Luke 13:18-21)

It is almost cliché to note that these two parables are about “humble beginnings.” It is cliché until we take a look at what “humble” refers to: insignificant and rag-tag. That is, out of dismissible events and people grow God’s great Empire.

For example, few observers would have suspected that a hole-in-the-wall tranny-bar would become the match to light the modern Gay Rights Movement in the United States. Yet the name Stonewall is now known the world over. In its wake queer sexuality is seen less and less as a predilection and more and more as a life-affirming path.

McCoy-Snell’s painting reminds us that the greatness of a person or even a movement is often masked by the circumstances of their conception and birth.

-continue reading at  The Bible In Drag – Queering Scripture

 

Weed – Not Necessarily for Smoking (Matthew 13: 24-30)

In Sexual Orientation on September 13, 2012 at 11:42 am

Jesus presented another parable to those gathered: “The kindom of heaven is like a farmer who sowed good seed in a field. While everyone was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and then made off. When the crop began to mature and yield grain, the weeds became evident as well.

“The farmer’s workers came and asked, ‘Did you not sow good seed in your field? Where are the weeds coming from?’

“The farmer replied, ‘I see an enemy’s hand in this.’

“They in turn asked, ‘Do you want us to go out and pull them up/”

“‘No,’ replied the farmer, ‘if you pull up the weeds, you might take the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until the harvest, then at harvest time I will order the harvesters first to collect the weeds and bundle them up to burn, then to gather the wheat into my barn.’”

-Mathew 13: 24-30

 

Growing up in and among Kentucky farmers – a long and glorious family lineage – I know how important a good harvest is to the stability of the family. What the enemy has done not only “bests” a rival, but demoralizes and subverts the family as well. Twice the “enemy” is mentioned and the parable develops around the action of this adversary. The concern is the outcome of the enemy’s action and how to neutralize the opponent’s influence.

This parable about the Empire of God appears in the midst of a section of Matthew’s gospel dealing with the nascent rejection of Jesus and his message. It is an early warning that not all will turn out satisfactory in the Jesus story.

I think there is a lesson here for the LGBTQIA community. We certainly know about enemies – those detractors who for one reason or another still point to us as “unnatural.” We are familiar with the weeds they seek to plant among us – hateful and hurtful attitudes which serve only to destabilize our innate orientation. We have set about pulling these weeds with great energy and hope. Yet the weeds spring back.

-continue reading at  The Bible In Drag – Queering Scripture.

The Empire of the Sacred (Matthew 13:3b-9 // Mark 4:3-8; Luke 8:5-18)

In Uncategorized on September 6, 2012 at 11:51 am

One day, a farmer went out sowing seed. Some of the seed landed on a footpath, where birds came and ate it up. Some of the seed fell on rocky ground, where there was little soil. This seed sprouted at once since the soil had no depth, but the sun rose and scorched it, it withered away for lack of roots. Again, some of it landed on good soil, and yielded a crop thirty, sixty, even a hundred time what was sown.

-Matthew 13:3b-9 (Mark 4:3-8; Luke 8:5-18)

It can be hard for queer folk to here this simple parable of seeds and soil. Typically we are cast as the inhospitable ground with the kingdom (or better empire) of God rejecting us or being choked out by the weeds of our “queerness.” The conformist tradition makes it clear that the realm of the Sacred is hetro-centric and only straight people enjoy the bounty of this terrain.

However, such understanding of the kingdom has missed what it is all about. Today we have smoothed out and made palatable to people of democracies the radical notion of God’s realm. The translation above drops the idea of kingdom all together and substitute the notion of a “kin”-dom, a place where we gather because of kinship ties and common ground. Jesus was much more radical. In the face of the Roman occupation and of stubborn religious hegemony Jesus declared the Empire of God – a bulwark of justice and liberation amidst the injustice and oppression of his time.

-continue reading at The Bible In Drag – Queering Scripture.

Cardinal Carlo Martini Criticized Church Soon Before Death

In Uncategorized on September 3, 2012 at 9:29 am

The former archbishop of Milan and papal candidate Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini said the Roman Catholic Church was “200 years out of date” in his final interview before his death, published Saturday.

Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, right, with Pope Benedict XVI in 2005.

Cardinal Martini, once favored by Vatican progressives to succeed Pope John Paul II and a prominent voice in the church until his death at 85 on Friday, gave his view of the church as a pompous and bureaucratic institution failing to move with the times.

“Our culture has aged, our churches are big and empty and the church bureaucracy rises up; our rituals and our cassocks are pompous,” Cardinal Martini said in the interview published in Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera.

“The church must admit its mistakes and begin a radical change, starting from the pope and the bishops,” he said in the interview. “The pedophilia scandals oblige us to take a journey of transformation.”

Cardinal Martini, famous for comments that the use of condoms could be acceptable in some cases, told interviewers the church should open up to new kinds of families or risk losing its flock.

“A woman is abandoned by her husband and finds a new companion to look after her and her children.” he said. “A second love succeeds. If this family is discriminated against, not just the mother will be cut off, but also her children.”

– more at  NYTimes.com.

John McNeill, Theologian

In Uncategorized on September 2, 2012 at 5:23 pm
Theologian
b. September 2, 1925

Jesus.opens the possibility of bringing gay relationships within the compass of healthy and holy human love.

One year after John McNeill published “The Church and the Homosexual” (1976), a book offering a new theological look at homosexuality, he received a letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican. Religious authorities ordered McNeill, an ordained Jesuit priest, to halt public discussion on the topic.

McNeill’s book reveals original text from the New Testament detailing Jesus’s ministry to homosexuals. McNeill argues that the original Greek text of Matthew 8: 5-13 narrates Jesus’s healing of a man’s sick gay lover. The Latin translation of this passage describes Jesus’s healing of a master’s servant.


In compliance with the order from the Vatican, McNeill kept a public silence while he ministered privately to gays and lesbians. The Catholic Church, in 1988, submitted a further order to McNeill to relinquish his ministry to homosexuals. When McNeill refused, the Church expelled him from the Jesuit order.

McNeill enlisted in WWII at age 17. German forces captured him while he was serving under General Patton in 1944. He spent six months as a POW before the war’s end.


After graduating from Canisius College in 1948, McNeill entered the Society of Jesus. In 1959, he was ordained a Jesuit priest. Five years later, he earned a Ph.D. in philosophy with honors and distinction from Louvain University in Belgium.
McNeill began teaching in the combined Woodstock Jesuit Seminary and Union Theological Seminary in 1972. He co-founded the New York City chapter of Dignity, an organization of Catholic gays and lesbians. In addition to his teaching duties, he served as Director of the Pastoral Studies program for inner-city clergy at the Institutes of Religion and Health.


An accomplished author, McNeill’s works include “Taking a Chance on God: Liberating Theology for Gays and Lesbians, Their Lovers, Friends and Families” (1988) and “Freedom, Glorious Freedom: The Spiritual Journey to the Fullness of Life for Gays, Lesbians and Everybody Else” (1995). He has also published influential articles in The New Dictionary of Spirituality and The Journal of Pastoral Care.


McNeill led the New York City Gay Rights Parade as Grand Marshall in 1987. He has received numerous awards, including the National Human Rights Award in 1984, the 1997 Dignity/USA Prophetic Service Award, and the People of Soulforce Award in 2000.

Bibliography
“Profile: LGBTRAN.” Religious Archives Network. August 24, 2007
“John McNeill- The Author.” The Owls Nest. July 3, 2007
Selected Works

“John McNeill Response Sermon.” CLGS. October 2, 2005
Both Feet Firmly Planted in Midair: My Spiritual Journey (1998)
Freedom, Glorious Freedom: The Spiritual Journey to the Fullness of Life for Gays, Lesbians, and Everybody Else
Sex as God Intended (2009)
Taking a Chance on God: Liberating Theology for Gays and Lesbians, Their Lovers, Friends and Families
The Church and the Homosexual
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